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NASCAR update / March 18, 2009
Catching up with ther NASCAR Sprint Cup field heading to Bristol this weekend:

Hamlin Can Build On Car Number History At Bristol: Former South Boston Speedway regular Denny Hamlin drives the no. 11, which has been very successful at Bristol.

*Ned Jarrett* drove the No. 11 car to a third-place finish in the first race at Bristol in July 1961. He also drove the car to its first victory at Bristol in July 1965. Since then, the 11 car has been synonymous with Victory Lane at the track. In 86 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since Jarrett’s victory, the No. 11 car has won the race 17 times.

Credit team owner *Junior Johnson*, who fielded the No. 11 car for those 17 victories. Three-time champion *Cale Yarborough* drove for Johnson in the 1970s and made Bristol his personal playground, winning nine of 16 races from 1973-1980. Two that he lost were won by a flashy young driver named *Darrell Waltrip*.

“The 11 number and Bristol certainly go together,” said Darrell Waltrip, who leads all drivers with 12 wins at the track. “With all of the wins Junior has been a car owner for, that makes that number special when you go to Bristol.”

When Yarborough decided to scale back his career after the 1980 season, Waltrip gladly moved over to take the ride.

“When I got out of the 88 and into the 11, I had my credentials and I was prepared, at the top of my game, and then they gave me that race car to drive … I couldn’t lose,” Waltrip said.

WARMING UP: *Bristol Motor Speedway* has always been the type of track where a driver could get hot and just come back for more race after race.

Based on his five wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, one would assume that the track is a favorite for *Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge).* It is in fact his “absolute favorite” track and one at which he always looks forward to racing.

The fact that Busch is off to his best start in his nine-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career has only added to his excitement to return to the .533-mile oval, dubbed “The World’s Fastest Half Mile.”

“I’m probably looking forward to this trip back to Bristol as much as any of my career,” Busch said. “I could even say that I’m anticipating this Bristol race weekend more than any visit I’ve ever made to the track.”

Strong statement from Busch. Not as strong as his statement two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway, when he dominated the field in a fashion unseen from the 2004 series champion since Pocono in August 2007. Busch led 234 of the race’s 330 laps, or 70 more laps than he led in all of

“Coming off the big win two Sundays ago at Atlanta, the off weekend only added to the energy and oomph we’re bringing (to Bristol),” Busch said. “We have the momentum growing and the excitement building within and around our team.”

Despite having five Bristol wins, Busch hasn’t won at the track since March 2006, his fifth start with *Penske Racing*. It was a bit of déjà-vu for team owner *Roger Penske* who saw *Rusty Wallace* pilot the No. 2 Dodge to Victory Lane seven times at Bristol.

“Kurt Busch obviously found what he needed also and got that same feel and accomplished that same thing that I was able to do,” Wallace said. “It makes me feel really good that he was able to pick up on it.”

Busch, in fact, picked up on it immediately, grabbing his first Bristol win in just his third trip to the track. He plans to add win number six this weekend.

“We feel that the timing is right this weekend to come back in there and add to our success,” Busch said.

Back-To-Back Short-Track Racing Is Indeed Back To Basics: For competitors and fans alike, short tracks are the sparks that ignite a deep passion for racing. Whether behind the wheel, or in the stands, for many the love of racing was bred on local short tracks across America. Which makes the next two weekends special.

For the fifth consecutive season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to both half-mile tracks on the circuit – Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway – in back-to-back weeks. The excitement and high-charged emotions that come with short-track races energize all who watch.

“The upcoming two-race short track stretch of the schedule offers the drivers a greater set of challenges, both from a mental and physical standpoint,” said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director *John Darby*. “If the average lap time for a speedway is around 30 seconds and the average lap time at Bristol is let’s say 15 seconds, then the driver has half the time to think and react on the race track. They are seeing the corners twice as fast as they’ve seen them so far this season. Things happen quicker and the drivers must react quicker. That reduction of reaction time lends itself to creating a new element of excitement for our fans and for our race teams.”

Busch Brothers Cementing Legacy Among NASCAR Siblings:
Families have played an important role in NASCAR’s history with names like* Petty, Earnhardt *and *Allison* peppering the NASCAR record books. Many of the most famous combinations are father-son duos, including four generations of Pettys (*Lee, Richard, Kyle *and *Adam*) and three generations of Earnhardts (*Ralph, Dale *and *Dale Jr.*)

Just as strong is the legacy of brothers, starting with the *Flocks* (*Tim, Fonty *and *Bob*) and *Thomases* (*Herb *and *Donald*) who helped establish NASCAR to the *Allisons* (*Bobby *and *Donnie*) and *Waltrips* (*Darrell *and *Michael*), who claim two of the top drivers in the sports’ history.

All indications, however, are that Kurt and Kyle Busch (No. 18 Snickers Toyota) will be considered the greatest brother combo by the time their careers end. Kurt, 30, is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and is tied for 33rd on the all-time wins list with 19.

Kyle, 23, already has 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins (Kurt’s first win came when he was 23.) In addition, he has 22 NASCAR Nationwide Series wins, putting him just outside the top five in all-time series wins, and 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins.

Currently *Terry *and *Bobby Labonte* are the only brothers to each win a championship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Kyle was on his way to adding the Busch name to that list in 2008 before his title hopes were derailed in the Chase.

The Buschs have also added two other feats to their resume this season – they started 1-2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and won consecutive races for the second consecutive year.

*Brotherly Love*

Brothers with the most career NSCS wins:

*Family (wins) Brothers (wins)

Allison (94) Bobby (84)/Donnie (11)

Waltrip (88) Darrell (84)/Michael (4)

Flock (62) Tim (39)/Fonty (19)/Bob (4)

Thomas (49) Herb (48)/Donald (1)

Labonte (43) Terry (22)/Bobby (21)

Busch (32) Kurt (19)/Kyle (13)

TRG Motorsports Is Newest David Poised To Knock Off Goliath: By habit, most eyes will turn to the top of the driver standings following Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The intrigue, however, lies further down in the battle for 35th place in the owner standings. Next week will be the first time in 2009 the current owner standings will determine which 35 cars are locked into each race.

The top 35 cars in the owner standings are guaranteed a starting spot in that week’s race. For the first five races of the season, the previous year’s standings are used. That makes Bristol (race five) make-or-break for teams such as *Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet*, driven by un-retired superstar *Mark Martin*. All four cars in the Hendrick Motorsports’ stable were predicted to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by the media.

On the other side of the spectrum is *TRG Motorsports’ No. 71 Capital Window Chevrolet*, driven by *David Gilliland*. The team was put together 14 days before the Daytona 500 and missed the cut for the season opener, making its first start at Auto Club Speedway. It is comprised of 10 members, five of which work on the car. And currently leads entries from heavyweights such as Hendrick Motorsports, *Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Red Bull Racing *and *Yates Racing. *

“When we didn’t make it (into the Daytona 500), we quickly revamped our team and went to California with a renewed spirit to succeed in this sport,” said team owner *Kevin Buckler*. “We wanted it bad.”

The team made a move – two moves to be exact. Buckler hired Gilliland and veteran crew chief *Richard “Slugger” Labbe*, who in turn brought several crew members.

“We have two guys from DEI and we stole two others from the TRG Motorsports truck team,” Labbe said. “A crew this small is easy to take care of.”

Gilliland is quick to point to the team work for the team’s success.

“Everyone is giving 100% and that is the only reason we are getting the results that we have had so far,” said Gilliland. “There are teams running out there now with a lot more people but I doubt they are working this hard or being this efficient or having this much fun.”

Buckler echoed Gilliland’s sentiments.

“This team has jelled faster than any I have been associated with,” Buckler said. “We have the same atmosphere around our sports car team, we have fun and we win. There is a low-key fun factor that is happening here that is unique in the garage. We enjoy going into the track and being together.”

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